Route 66

my grade: 66/100

Srsly. My worst ever performance? No, but uncomfortably close.

After checking every known university system every day from submission + 2 weeks, today I found my Research Proposal had achieved 66/100. While not the absolute nadir of my academic efforts, it’s very close. I loved this course, and it was taught with a learning design I 100% support and agree with. So what went wrong?

I often experience essay remorse, where as soon as I submit an assessment, I understand the areas that I missed or dealt with inadequately. For me, that is the ultimate learning in each unit; it ties what I knew I knew in with what I forgot I knew or didn’t integrate during the research and writing process. With this unit there were regular assessments using exemplars, peer review and instructor review – the ultimate triangulation. But I still struggled. My lack of experience and choice of both topic and research strategy left me Not Sure of how close I was to the target.

Another factor was *nightmare group project* in another unit. Without structure or framework, roles or reporting lines, a task that would in a workplace environment be a “robust” discussion demanded constant but futile attention. While I understand the employment destination connection of team player, both work and learning situations would benefit from more evolved frameworks and a smaller component of total grade based on group assessment results. Did I self-sabotage by spending time drawing together the threads of one group through some sense of over-responsibility and sacrifice an individual performance in another?

Not really. My grade on this course reflects the gap between my level of research maturity and that required to be academically competitive. What I have learned is that to prepare a successful research proposal I need to have a thorough and comprehensive understanding of all literature relevant to my topic, and a defined and addressable gap. I need to be situated in the environment in which the research will take place, and clearly articulate how the project will work within it. I need to choose a treatment that I can describe in rich detail, that is deliverable and appropriate within the defined context. I need to dig deeper into the research methodology and ensure my rationale is absolutely the best fit. An experiment in an area in which I don’t have specialist knowledge? What was I thinking 😐

I wonder if more frequent class meetings or catch up sessions might have worked, but by the book this unit was perfect. The detailed feedback I have received leaves me wanting a personal research information source, which can answer ad hoc questions with contextual, plain Engligh responses. Which can parse my assessment in a semantically-aware way, and suggest improvements, allowing the scaling-up of student numbers to a level not supportable with organisational consistency and resourcing while affording constant and formative feedback. In short, an intelligent tutor.

In the meantime, the MLS&T thread has suggested other courses I can access to address my essay remorse and scaffold myself through to conscious competence. And in a more long-term way, I can continue to move into the gravitational pull of AI, transhumanism and the dog-fish and camel-bird network model of connection.

Productive failure is never a waste of time 😉

2016 note: my next RP improved to 87 🙂



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